What use is sight without vision?

by | Jun 15, 2021

One of my fond childhood memories is that of visiting the hydel station cum water pump at Bhola, near Meerut City with my father. We took a public bus, which was divided into two zones – the front and the rear – and there was a differential in ticket. The road was a mix of strips of masonry and asphalt. The sight of gushing water was amazing! There were massive fruit-laden trees. We returned in the evening. 

After my father passed away in 1979, that connection was severed. But my younger brother developed a spiritual bonding with Swami Vivekanand Sarasvatiji, who had an ashram in the vicinity of the hydel station, and I visited him many times. Awareness dawned upon me that the water stream was in fact the Upper Ganges Canal built during 1842 to 1854 by the East India Company, connecting Haridwar to Aligarh for irrigation and as a waterway.

Once, in 1969, while returning from Haridwar, we passed through the Solani Aqueduct in Roorkee. The driver stooped the bus briefly so that everyone could see how the Upper Ganges Canal was flowing over a 300-meter-long bridge crossing over the Solani River. One passenger announced that the song, “Nanha Munna Rahi Hun, Desh Ka Sipahi Hun” — from the 1962 film, “Son of India” was picturized at this location. Of course, I was more interested in looking at the pairs of large stone lions, placed at each end of the aqueduct.

In 1998, when Dr APJ Abdul Kalam went to the convocation of Roorkee Engineering College, now the Indian Institute of Technology, I assisted him in writing his speech. The speech recalled how this engineering college was started in 1847 to teach engineering to “the natives” to meet the need of constructing the Upper Ganges Canal and was later named The Thomason College of Civil Engineering. Dr Kalam thundered, “Those ‘natives’ have put a satellite into orbit and have now a Nuclear Weapon!” 

A nation moves ahead through big projects. The Manhattan Project that produced the first nuclear weapons decided the ending of World War II. Dr J. Robert Oppenheimer (1904 -1967) inspired Dr Homi J. Bhabha and Prof Vikram Sarabhai, whose leadership would later create BARC and ISRO. U.S. President, John F. Kennedy, on May 25, 1961, announced the goal of landing a man on the Moon by the end of the decade and it eventually happened. The construction of the Three Gorges Dam on the Yangtze River was a major project that put China on the road to become a World Power. 

So, where are our big projects? After the Light Combat Aircraft that made its maiden flight in 2001 could not be productionized till 2016 for political reasons, India is yet to see something big happening. Where are the new Nuclear Power Stations? The plan of Thorium-based reactors? Our passenger aircraft? Our Bullet Train? Why have we become a society continuously arguing on every little thing and unable to see the big picture and afraid to take strides? A big nation ought to think big, do big, and deliver big. 

What are the big dreams India can have? Becoming a 5-trillion economy is a neat, right, and doable dream. It is unfortunate that rather than a discussion on “how,” there is a chorus of naysayers, ridiculing the idea itself as if this nation must forever remain a nation of daily-wage farm labourers. Why not have ten of India’s higher education institutes in world ranking? A medical college with a 1000-bed hospital in every district? A house for every family? Tap water in every home? No open drainage in any city of more than a million people? If these things happen, the rest will happen automatically.

India must get rid of its perennial flood problem. This one “project” will transform our villages. Floods in India are turning more severe, unpredictable, and rather intractable every year. It is a no-brainer that hundreds of water courses originate from the Himalayas flooding Kosi, Gandak, Damodar, Brahmaputra and Mahanadi in Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, West Bengal, Assam and wash away properties and livelihoods of millions of people who as a result, live in perennial poverty. The Western Ghats have become the new flood zones and cloudburst-like situations are playing havoc every year. 

Why is the country of legendary engineer, Dr M. Visvesvaraya, shying away from discussing a River-linking project? We need to wake up to the fact that India accounts for 18% of the world population, which will become 20% and eventually 25% by 2050, and has about 4% of the world’s water resources, which will turn less than 2% in the same period. Which other solutions would solve the country’s water woes but to link our rivers? People getting killed by water in some areas and dying from dehydration in some other parts can’t be our destiny.  

Beyond water security, the canals as waterways would ease the stress on transport infrastructure, hydro power would feed grid, and fish farming would broaden income sources in rural areas. The cost of power generation by solar power is steadily declining and soon, say by 2025, renewable power would be available for water lifting/pumping, giving an advantage that was never there. But such an enterprise must be immune from electoral politics and declared by the Parliament as a National Mission.

The cost of not doing this is going to be existential. No national economy operates in isolation. People with vehicles at the petrol pumps swallow this bitter truth every day. The bumper crops in irrigated areas and dismal situation of rain-fed farming is a fact well laid out. I personally saw the chorus of “disaster” when the Sardar Sarovar Dam was created to better utilize the water of the Narmada in Gujarat. But now that it has happened, the transformation that has come is apparent and undeniable. We can’t condemn people living in river-basins to suffer every year and flourish as a nation. 

The Katha Upanishad declares, उत्तिष्ठत जाग्रत प्राप्य वरान्निबोधत Arise, awake, find those who know and learn from them (1.3.14). The nation has seen enough of electoral bickering and petty politics during the COVID-19 pandemic. Finally, there is nothing for which any one can claim any credit. The system has exposed its inadequacies and the society, its organic defects. Why can we not come out of the hypnotic spell of words like “world leader”, “superpower” and the “largest democracy” and show something real for the good of the people, especially the poor and the powerless, who are fast losing hope.   

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42 Comments

  1. Excellent blog probably reflecting the thoughts of Indian intelligentsia Prof Tiwariji!

    Your noble endeavour of making “the natives” to sight those who know and learn from them to think big, do big and deliver big will go a long way in realising the Vision of GREAT INDIA!!

  2. Very relevant question has been asked Sir. However, over the years I feel there is different problem that we all are suffering. Many people talk a lot about a big vision, but at the end of the day you need people working on such a vision in a mission mode, which is where we have faltered. In other words, we talk so much of vision but are myopic in executing plans for that vision.

    I feel it is the poor and the powerless who actually deliver and it is necessary that they are first taken care of if we really have to think about doing good for the Society. The pandemic has exposed the healthcare inadequacies to a large extent. The immediate response always lies in blame games and not having necessary infrastructure and of course funds. While it is true that adequate focus has not been given in the healthcare sector for a very long time, there has been at least some change by the present government disposition to accept issues and find solutions.

    Developing a vaccine in a years’ time is by no way a small achievement. But then we get lost in political bickering and go on to the extent of criticising scientists and their research work. Technology has been transforming all segments but healthcare is the one where the penetration is the slowest. Private and public sector hospitals should be made more accountable to finding solutions than merely stating problems and work towards target oriented objectives with deliverables being monitored by a central monitoring committee.

    I think having a good sight without a vison is as much an issue as having good vision but executing with a myopic sight. Who knows it better than you?

  3. One can’t but agree with the spirit of your article, Prof Tiwari, and the laudable, lofty ideals it lays out — dream big, do big, work for the poor and the powerless, and for the nation!

    Again, Dr Kalam’s words — “Those ‘natives’ have put a satellite into orbit and have now a nuclear weapon!” — are powerful, inspiring, and remind us of our real potential. Also, that we only need to again start believing in ourselves, as also the greatness of our country!

    You give the examples of Dr Homi Bhabha, Prof Vikram Sarabhai and Dr Visvesvaraya. Perhaps, all that is needed is for the current generations to fill up with their kind of patriotism?
    Our mind-space was filled with the pursuit of glamour, money, consumerism and such things, eversince liberalisation of our economy in 1991. However, the last two years and the different hardships suffered all around seem to have effected changes in most people’s thinking: we see increased empathy, helpfulness, support and the desire to do something for society.
    Now, to take this to the next level — to do for the nation, the country!

    I have noticed people do want to do for society and the marginalised, but seldom think in terms of the nation. I wonder why this disconnect — does it stem from a lack of pride? Not all are even convinced about the need to stand for the national anthem!

    I feel unless that deep change — love for the country and what she stands for — comes about, that one big motivator will be missing. And until then, divisive forces will continue to disrupt progress of all kinds. An equal and opposite movement is perhaps required, to create a new mindset among citizens, and for this, we must `catch them young’.

    If I’m not mistaken, the current government has again picked up the river-linking project — however, funds are an issue too, which need their own resolution.

  4. It is nice to learn about your esteemed late father and your early life. I agree with you that flooding is a critical problem in our country and appreciate your suggestions to bring about a lasting solution. We must do away with superlatives and idolized words like world leader, superpower, largest democracy and focus on empowering the poor and the needy especially girls and women. I wish to read your viewpoint of gender inequality in India next time.

  5. Dear Professor Tiwari, This refers to two statements made in the post – ‘a big nation ought to think big, do big and deliver big’ and ‘nation moves ahead through big projects’.

    In my view, both ‘small’ and ‘big’ projects have a place in national development. The big projects require strong political will, national consensus, and huge investment. Further, we need to have/acquire relevant technologies and necessary skills to implement huge mega projects. In India, it is very difficult to get national consensus on anything. The opposition, leftists, pseudointellectuals, environmentalists and some members of the civil societies etc. would religiously oppose everything that the government of the day would propose. Increasing regionalism and ‘sons of the soil’ approach hinder reaching national consensus. Small projects are generally local/regional in nature and it is relatively easy to obtain consensus and can be implemented with limited resources. Their impact is generated in shorter time. The local/regional development also get reflected in national development.

    In certain situations, big projects would be essential. The river-linking project is essential to save the country from perpetual flooding and drought. But narrow regional/local considerations and short-term political gains override national interest. Even the writ of the central government and judicial verdicts in such matters are ignored due to fear of mass protests. This is the downside of the federalism that operates in our country.

    It is good to take pride in the past/ancient glory. But, if we fail to plan our future carefully, the past glory would stay in the history or antiquity only.

    Warm regards

  6. Dear Arun Ji, Hope, your article will motivate world leadership to avoid water wars.

  7. Thanks for an insightful blog Sir. The question of balancing the short and long terms holds the key. In any country and in all times, there are mutually opposing forces and positions on any major decision. If the opposition between them is strong, certain short-term decisions force the hand of the government away from our long-term objectives. For example, management of COVID-19 pandemic has put the 5-trillion-dollar economy dream away for some time now.

    But the problem is in the failure of governments to form, or at least declare, a strategic country vision in the form of policies and programs. The sacrifice of long- term to short-term considerations is the biggest tragedy of democracy in the modern world. The way the U.S. helped China to become a superpower for profits of its corporations and Indian governments turned a blind eye to solve the problem of floods are two glaring examples. As Dr Ben from Kigali, Rwanda, rightly pointed out in his comment on this blog without a vision, a nation perishes.

  8. Thanks, Tiwari Sir, first of all about the picture in the blog. I have heard about it from my dad who is IIT Roorkee Alumni, but never got I chance to visit Roorkee.

    Very well said, that we have to move past the words like Superpower, World Leader. Every person and every individual should realize their social responsibilities and the power within them. Covid has really taught us a lot, any world leader cannot help anything unless the people support him or society contribute to the cause. We should connect with our inner powers and have a futuristic outlook.

    As you mentioned, water scarcity is going to be worsening, someone has really mentioned correctly that the third world war may be due to water shortage. Keeping that in mind, we should plan ahead towards a national mission not only for water conservation but also to utilize our resources at the best without wasting anything.

  9. Thanks Prof Tiwari for the views which perhaps vast majority of Indians harbour but leave others to pose.

    Your concluding sentence, “Why can we not come out of the hypnotic spell of words like “world leader”, “superpower” and the “largest democracy” and show something real for the good of the people, especially the poor and the powerless, who are fast losing hope.”, flags the need to come out of these self-praise features of our polity and deliver something like the green revolution and white revolution delivered.

    Being the world’s largest vaccine manufacturer, ironically, we do not have enough COVID-19 vaccines to vaccinate our population. With just <4% of our population having vaccinated, something must have gone wrong. Can we assign responsibility and take the guilty to task for shaming the nation and take corrective measures to avoid repeating such costly mistakes?

    Linking the rivers should become a national mission which will have profound impact, of course after addressing environmental issues.

  10. Dear Sir, Thank you once again for a very apt and timely blog looking at present circumstances. As somebody has said, VISION is an art of seeing the INVISIBLE, only a few are bestowed with that kind of ability. Most of the ordinary mortals have only the sight and not the vision. But it is a matter of great pleasure and pride, that India had, has and will have visionary leaders. But the kind of democratic set up we are in, the political will prevails. Unfortunately, the political leaders seldom appreciate the vision because they only have sight.

    Sir, you have mentioned about the linking of the rivers, I have read somewhere that an eminent Engineer Sri K L Rao, from erstwhile Andhra Pradesh had submitted a plan for linking of rivers, but the political leaders did not take any action and the result is visible. Prof Kalam could succeed because he had the knack and ability to convince these semi-literate/illiterate political leaders and had the backing from the top most person, irrespective of the party which was in power, Probably Sri K L Rao didn’t have the persuasive mind-set.

    But it is matter of great satisfaction and solace that we have visionary and honest leaders amongst us even today, like E Sridharan, (who has made available his services even at the age of 80 years) Present set of ISRO scientists led by Siva, Nitin Gadkari (whose wealth from waste is a great initiative) and mission mode work on National highways is an exemplary work. Most importantly we are being led by a visionary Prime Minister.

    I am reminded of talk by Dr Singh from IIM Bangalore, who could show us an achievable vision in 5 slides. He was invited to speak on HINDI DIWAS. This Economist sardar ji was honest in telling me that he will speak on a topic of economics in Hindi. I felt that was the right approach because there was no point in speaking on routine matters like origin of Hindi diwas and rules and regulation related to implementation of Hindi as official language. His first slide was showing an elephant and on the elephant it was written INDIAN ECONOMY.

    The second slide was showing the demographic advantage of India has with population in different age groups. Third slide had average age of the big countries of the world and how the world is getting aged. Fourth slide was giving the details of technical support services the world needs, Fifth slide was giving recommendation for the vocational courses and the training courses skill development council can take up so that the trained man power can be sent whole over the world and this would help the Indian Economy to boom and the last slide was showing the same elephant flying with wings. I felt that was a very different and novel way to look at Indian Economy. Like this we have visionary leaders at different levels, it is for the authorities that are, to take note and act.

    During Hindi Maah celebrations of 2019, I was invited as chief guest for Hindi Diwas celebrations in NAAC and MTRDC, taking cue from Prof Singh’s talk; I gave a talk, in Hindi, on water scarcity the world is facing and different ways of addressing the water problem and how Air to Water generator holds a promise. It was very well appreciated by the organisations.

    Sir I am an eternal optimist and I am of the firm opinion that India will emerge as the world’s fastest growing economy and will be a force to reckon with in every field.

  11. Dear Dr Tiwari, another inspiring piece but for the first time in a decade, there seem to be self-doubts if our vision is truly where we will be in the next 30 years. I wish you would be one of the voices that is used to shape the future and we batten down and focus on our people and education rather than measure ourselves with the world.

  12. I have been in New York all week on several projects, but India is simply not a subject of interest in U.S investment circles these days. You are right. India needs a transformative story. It needs to get with the program. Join TPP, stop being a protectionist bastion afraid of trade liberalisation.

    Renewable energy is the right sector. Hydrogen for fuel will also be big. Put a citizen of India on Mars by 2050.

  13. Thank you, sir, for providing the awaited wisdom and thought for the fortnight. First, my take on how I read and review each blog:

    The last paragraph of each blog is what I copy and write on my notebook that enables me to review without opening my computer screen. I follow the laid narrative and story but reconsider and revise the blog in the reverse order.

    At times, reflection is automatic and immediate but requires time and cognitive energy to fully sink in and sometimes demand reading references. The ideas are straightforward when understood. You make or refine an opinion and amend or reorder your to-do list.

    Like many others, the current blog’s narrative and message call us into action – for our poor and powerless. The story makes us believe that it is doable.

  14. As you mentioned with the Indian population on rise, that would make India a significant contributor to climate change. It is about time that this issue is addressed and do more than just sign agreements! Tackling climate change would be a project that’s worthy!

    Reduce the emissions, encourage recycle and reuse, educate the people, endorse bio-degradable material, limit waste production, ban single-use plastic. I think all these and many more can have remarkable impact and not only secure the future generations, but also what we call “home”.

  15. Dear Arun, This article reminded me of a lot that people of our age had envisioned. They have lost hope and feel bad about us. Here is what I think. We can’t now. We will one day.

    The force of Indian youth, intelligence of people , entrepreneurship, high potential for emergence of more sophisticated leadership, and underlying pride in the Indian values will overcome the apparent distractions. This is a period of serious learning. India has to pay its price for growth. It will not come cheap, it taks a lot of time to build a nation. That’s what is happening.

  16. Arun ji, great blog on the importance of Vision. Absence of big projects is the result of absence of Visionary leaders. When EXECUTION is aligned with the VISION, then the vision becomes a reality. That is the role of Visionary leadership. The need of the hour is Vision for Health care covering infrastructure, capability building. Technology adoption and a result oriented patient centric culture. Thank you Arun ji.

  17. In it’s breadth of vision and focus on specifics, this blog made me recall Dr Kalam’s vision for India 2020 and his roadmap for the same published in 1998. And India was indeed making good progress along this road for 5-6 years before the process got hijacked for over a decade following.

    With 2020 eventually turning out to be a complete washout and even the current year seeming the start of a long walk back to normalcy, this is a good time to reboot for the decades ahead. And who better to show the way for this other than Mr Tiwari, Dr Kalam’s acolyte and alter ego! And it’s indeed addressing of the basics like education, health, housing, hygiene and sustainable development that can yield five trillion, seat at the high table etc which will be undeniable, and even inescapable, outcomes.

    I am very happy to see Mr Tiwari accepting the mantle of carrying Dr Kalam’s unwritten bequeathal of his legacy, and resetting the path ahead. It’s a noble endeavour and I wish Mr Tiwari the very best

  18. Several questions put forth by you Arun ji in this blog of yours need to be earnestly dug up for answers. One needs to rattle one’s mind, think positively and search for the appropriate solution. For there lies the path which if traversed can lead India and Indians to joy happiness contentment and fulfillment.

    If wishes were horses, all would be galloping away. But alas it has not to be. A nation flourishes only when a collective effort with positive thinking and optimistic approach join hands to achieve the impossible. Rightly said – the word impossible is in the dictionary of fools, if one means and has the intention nothing is impossible.

    One has to have a dream, a dream to do big, followed by converting it into reality. The reality is to flourish from big projects. Think big and achieve big – your gist of the blog has rightly captured the present situation of our country.

    We need to hurtle fast least we are left behind. Every nation is on the move. He who bells the cat first stands to win. With the world leaping ahead how can we be left behind? We have the capacity, the capability, the brains and the grit to work hard. We the Indians are famous around the globe as intellectuals and with hard labour in our genes, no wonders we are the preferred ones for best results be it intellectual or physical work, then why do we somewhat lag when it comes to working and uplifting our own country? Why do we become mean, mute and menace at home? Why can’t we be that elusive number one developed country in the world? Questions are umpteen and answers lie within.

    Human greed to sit on a pile of money, to amass wealth by hook or crook, by all dubious means, the desire to be all powerful, to be one up, the attitude to live for self, are some of the temptations which come to mind among st several.

    Forgetting human generosity, the life to live and help others, the art of sacrifice or valuing life itself appears to be nowhere in the horizon. How can the nation progress when day in and day out we come across several scandals, likes of Mallyas, Choksis and others looting the nation? Many have been identified and many more, several of them big and small get unearthed almost every other day. Needless to mention several of those who escape the clutches forever, no wonders the percentage of Tax payers in this country is minuscule. Ways and means to save tax by circumventing is rampant. Then how is the country expected to survive forget progress? The middle income citizens who form the bulk of the population are the sufferers. The sharks get away after the kill. The small fish gets the relief wearing the vote bank hat and the normal size fish, the one which gets decorated on the table to gobble – the middle income group, is the one which gets entangled in the net to perish.

    Fully agree with you, to be a big nation one ought to think big, do big, and deliver big. One needs to rise above the political embargo and think of the nation first.

    Lets for a decade consider a war like situation, when generally all opposition parties come under one national flag and shelve the personal motives and ambitions. It’s nation first to win a war. So be it similar. First let the ruling party, the administrators forget personal benefits, goals and motives and think of the country. Let the opposition not oppose just for the sake of opposing each and everything the Govt comes up with.

    Let it be a war – A war which needs to be jointly and mutually won by uplifting the country be it by setting up large industries, being self sufficient in power, water, agriculture. Be it by setting up big infrastructure projects; let’s be independent and self reliant militarily, financially, morally and socially. Let’s keep religion, cast and creed aside. Just ten years…is what we need collectively for one nation one religion one agenda one effort …..to see the country flourish. For sure, it will be once again that golden bird which history speaks about once upon a time – India. We the Indians by the Indians can make our dream come true. Just ten years of vision to have a lovely sight

  19. Dear Arun, No doubt that you are a creative thinker. This time your blog takes me on an open ended exploration into the minds of wisest people whose insights and wisdom can help us to think, decide, act and live a little better each day. Even if only few of the suggestions given by you are implemented, country will become livable and woes of the countrymen will fade away to great extent. Only visionary like you can see the unseen. Keep going and continue to stimulate our minds.

  20. Grand visions start in the mind of a single individual and we are fortunate to call Dr. Kalam our own. Tangible results of successful individuals, organizations, and countries have shown us that their ambitious long-term strategies and visions were key in defining success. Dr. Kalam was an ambitious President too.

    We all are aware that a vision sets a course for the country’s development. At the same time, priorities must be set right. For example, the one hurdle that seems to prevent India from becoming whatever it is supposed to be is corruption. This evil in all sizes and colours make our visions go null and void. Let governments set an example by keeping big money out of politics/elections, by creating a level playing field for parties and candidates with less resources. Visions will become a reality only when the government stops farming out licences and permits in return for handsome philanthropy.

    Many individuals/ organizations inspired by Dr. Kalam are doing their best, but it is also the responsibility of the country’s leadership to create a clear vision and work towards fulfilling it thereby serving the best interests of its people.

  21. It’s unfortunate the politics in India withhold it from engaging in the significant development projects that the people of India are well capable of achieving and which would benefit the country. Perhaps it may require some of India’s successful business leaders to partner with government leaders on such projects. That’s my humble opinion from afar in the US.

    In particular, India is strong in the IT sector and has a growing IC design industry. Intel risks losing its foothold on the server market with the rise of the open source RISC-V platform. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to see India establish its own RISC-V based cloud infrastructure to replace AWS, Azure and Google Cloud with India-designed RISC-V processors and related software? I firmly believe India has the capacity to do this if the vision is provided by private industry and government leaders to embolden the proud people in India.

    With such a vision, India could become a leader in AI/ML since it can supply many of the data scientists needed in this fast growing industry. Improvements in many sectors including healthcare, education, agriculture, energy, defense and transportation can come about from such leadership. This would help India increase its economy and standard of living for all of India. How dearly missed is Dr. Kalam! He would certainly provide such needed inspiration to the leaders and people to pursue this grand vision.

  22. Arun, to date this blog is the best of yours. I can see the enthusiasm, passion, hope , nationalism, scientific thought and the emotional tears in your words. Best wishes.

  23. Very very enjoyable bhai saab! Both the sentiments/message, and the simple, lucid language.

  24. Very well stated. India needs to realise that it is big, think differently, and believe in its capability to make things happen irrespective of the Covid and other hurdles. This is the time to transform from a consumer market to a global supplier. Our people are ready to plunge but we need to change our thinking that all initiatives should come from the government. We need to improve our financial efficiency. Israel with one tenth of India’s defence budget is way ahead of India in all domains only because of the vision of individuals.

  25. Nice one Sri Arunji.. The political vision of the country has become so narrow that few think beyond winning the next election. Free soaps yield more votes than long term development projects. So who cares about them..

    We have so many great scholars and experts who would be more than willing to contribute for strategic projects of national importance without significant remuneration. But no one cares about capitalizing on the same. Bureaucracy & corruption at all levels right post independence have become big dampeners for anything positive.

    Will be great if government with guidance of well-meaning scholars can set up some task force for each of the sectors like Education, Healthcare, Nuclear Energy, Solar Energy, Infrastructure etc. These can be from lowest to highest levels who are given enough freedom to operate independently and checks & balances in process set to avoid mal-practices.

    In the world where Media & NGOs are in nexus with negative forces to block progress, some innovative ways by strong leaders need to be devised. However, before right minds seem to be able to focus on it, every few months some or the other election shows up diverting all energy to the same.

    Hope we see some positive change led by present government in near future!

  26. Requirements are many – either not projected or snubbed saying it that it is a just a dream. Nonetheless, these requirements need to be taken up – implemented regardless of the multitude of comments and hurdles. After all, the projects you have mentioned did not come up just like that, but – once they come up they meet the requirements and expectations of the silent and suffering masses. A strong will and determination is the need of the hour – let us all lend a helping hand….

  27. Namaskar Tiwari ji, very well written, depicting the reality and sharing hope. Let us pray that all these will be possible.

  28. Your selections on think global is worth all the recall now more than ever to raise a sagging spirit of the nation and its leaders amidst the burdensome mandemic. Reviving those inspirational memories, while paying tributes to the laudable work of our creative and epoch making leaders from various walks of life is music to the ears among the din and disconcerting acrimony and cacophony ‘from the divided and divisive politics and its echoes heard in civil society even in such an unprecedented crisis. The nation must be allowed to move on….. with the spirit of give and take. The PM has just announced a plan to restore 2.6 crore hectares of degraded land by 2030. That is a great agenda setting in the context of the depletion and soil degradation attributable more to man made factors than anything else. This will, inter alia, make a great dent on the looming crisis of food security. True, that is a long haul. But that is an example of the how of what we need to do.

  29. We all ask us this question why cant we do it. Is it such a big target? We are just a case of bad governance. The government system has become self serving hydra consuming more than 200% of tax revenue just for salaries and pensions (as per information given to parliamentary committee headed by Dr. M.M.Joshi) leaving nothing for the poor man. The future generations are being overloaded with loans. Government has started looting it’s own Reserve Bank which was never done. Parties will come and go but this hydra with thrive and consume more.

    Just to add on this canal. It is called Eastern Ganga Canal. It was constructed by Britishers to provide irrigation water to Doab lands so that the zamindars can grow more and pay ore lagaan to Britishers. But Britishers did not spend a penny on the whole project. It was paid for by the Zamindars themselves.

    What did we do?? We made a Madhya Ganga Canal in late 60’sor 70’s just to consume a huge loan offered by the ADB or World Bank to take Ganga water at Bijnore for development of 1.46 lakh ha Irrigation potential in district Moradabad, Amroha and Sambhal. Not a single drop of water has ever flown in this Madhya Ganga Canal.These loans are more of a racket.

  30. Sir, thank you for this very inspiring blog. May I add the Kaleshwaram Lift Irrigation Project (KLIP) on the Godavari River in Kaleshwaram, Bhupalpally, Telangana.

    After formation of Telangana State in 2014, Chief Minister KTR took it up as a Mission and got it done in record time making it amongst world’s largest multi-stage lift irrigation project. The upstream influence of this project connecting the Pranhita, Wardha, Painganga, and Wainganga rivers with about 1800 km canals makes it a quiet a feat. Moreover, the large pumps at four locations lifting enormous amount of water have been designed and manufactured by BHEL.

    I fondly remember meeting Dr APJ Abdul Kalam at Jadcharla in Mhaboobnagar and his call to have a 1000-bedded hospital and medical college there. Unfortunately, it did not happen. Why lament without acting in time when a pandemic strike?

  31. Arunji, an excellent writeup! We need to think big, act big, as rightly pointed out!

  32. Respected Sir, Very good informative blog and in which you mentioned important national project in western UP. Basically it depends on associations which every body have whether political or bureaucratic while formulating projects which have national importance.

  33. A very thought provoking Blog Prof Tiwari ji, which actually is the national mandate. There are several components in the process. The first and the foremost is realization of the problem that needs for national development followed by action plan and deploying on the ground. If each department does it, we can witness the change. This is key to Atmanirbhar Bharat (self reliant India), and the lock is to be unlocked.

  34. Good piece Prof!

    Indeed, it’s as true as the scriptural quote in Proverbs 29:18 … Where there is no vision, the people perish…

  35. Dear Sir, Nice article, to have a vision is great but need to be followed by ruthless execution. Unfortunately we have myriad of challenges, with external influencers of the so called brigade that wants to question everything that’s progressive.

    In all these one of the big project that had vision and executed with vigor is the Delhi Metro, by Padma Vibhushan E Shreedharan, this clearly shows that the leadership matters, and the person with impeccable integrity and doesn’t take no for an answer can make things happen.

    In a country like ours that’s split by caste, creed, religion and language, a perfect ground for politicians and external forces to take advantage of.

    We have come a long way and I am sure with grit we as a country will make progress even though there will be constant bickering.

    At every stage, there will be someone who will take control and bring things back on track as the saying in Bhagavad Gita says:

    परित्राणाय साधूनां विनाशाय च दुष्कृताम् |
    धर्मसंस्थापनार्थाय सम्भवामि युगे युगे | (iv. 8)

    To protect the righteous, to annihilate the wicked, and to reestablish the principles of dharma I appear on this earth, age after age.

  36. Sir, very nicely written article. If we have to be successful in big projects, it is needed to remove certain unwanted fear existing with certain category of people. One way to deal with it is spreading the awareness amongst people.

  37. Very interesting and inspiring story. I have been a part of this story at Bhola Ashram and must have crossed Upper Ganga Canal while going to Delhi umpteen times. It is called Gang-Nahar. But now I see the big picture and realize the importance of large engineering projects. I would personally pitch for “India’s own 100-seater passenger aircraft” by 2025. Why not?

  38. What a pleasant surprise to see the Roorkee Lions! Numerous times I passed through the sculptures and felt inspired. But for the Upper Ganga Canal there would not have been the prosperity the Western Uttar Pradesh now enjoys. Everyone knows it but takes it for granted. Sadly, no similar efforts are seen any more, except for the Narmada Project, and a political ruckus created against that at every step!

    Dr Kalam remains our icon of a visionary leader. In the mid 1990s he was talking about making India a developed nation by 2020. It did not happen. But can we now fix our eyes on 2050 and make it happen? I felt the presence of Dr Kalam while reading this blog today. I endorse your crisp statement, “A big nation ought to think big, do big, and deliver big.” My sincere thanks for this wonderful blog.

  39. Sir, It is very important to have big national projects because it involves people in large numbers and generates employment. It is very true that as a nation we have been addicted to arguing about everything. It is a good idea that Parliament approves a few National Missions of 10-to-15-year duration and there is no politics on that.

  40. Sir, The history of a country goes through many crust and crowns.The country moves because of the people whom lives in the country. Many developments happened because of the timely need of the solution for a cause. In the past history of our country many dynastic politics ruled in their own agenda have given good or bad provision for people, that rule lacks collective vision of a nation. Today our nation reached on this crux because of the past visions and effort putforth. The people of a country must be disciplined with good ethics by the principles of a nation. The nation must have a inclusive politics to see the current strength and weakness and also the future of a nation. Thank you. God bless.

  41. One American Businessman, Columnist & Author named Dov Seidman has written very wisely in his best seller book “How” that, “It is no longer what you do that sets you apart from others but HOW you do WHAT you do make the difference…”

    Very nicely curated article, boosting the moral of the political and bureaucratic leaders how India can also have the big transformation by having some guts to do it.

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